The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) welcomed the Benefactor as the first neopanamax vessel to call after transiting the new locks at the Panama Canal. At 10,100 TEU the vessel is the largest ever to call in Savannah.
"The arrival of the MOL Benefactor today ushers in a new era of larger vessels and services that will increase capacity, volumes and economic opportunities for Georgia and this region," said Griff Lynch, GPA's Executive Director. "GPA is well-positioned to handle the larger vessels and greater volumes due to the scale and scope of our operations."
The GPA currently has eight “neopanamax” STS cranes on order, and will have a total compliment of 30 STS cranes by 2018. In the yard its RTG fleet now numbers 146 machines. "Over the next six months to a year, we expect a higher ratio of 8,000- to 10,000- TEU container ships among our vessels calls. Within two years, we expect market shifts to send 12,000-TEU vessels to the U.S. East Coast," Lynch added.
GPA’s current limitation is water depth, which is being addressed through the Savannah Harbour Expansion Project (SHEP) to deepen the inner harbour to 47 feet and the outer harbour to 49 feet at mean low water. “The outer portion of the harbor is now 15% complete with work progressing daily,” GPA said.
The Benefactor was sailing on the G6 Alliance NYX service, with a rotation of: Qingdao – Ningbo – Shanghai (Yangshan) – Busan – Panama Canal – Manzanillo (Panama) – New York – Norfolk – Savannah – Manzanillo (Panama) - Panama Canal – Busan – Qingdao.